Banksy and Basquiat: street art receiving a boost

September 29, 2017

A Basquiat exhibition in London and a newly-opened museum in Berlin are two new spots to sample galleried street art

Urban street art can be admired free of charge across the world, but finding it displayed in museums is somewhat less common. However, galleries in London and Berlin, two of Europe’s art capitals, are currently showcasing some of the best work the genre has to offer.

Art lovers in London can now enjoy a range of works by one of the pioneers of graffiti and street art: Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Born in New York City, Basquiat emerged as arguably the most influential figure in the city’s burgeoning street art scene in the early 1980s, later collaborating with the likes of Andy Warhol. By the time of his death from a heroin overdose in 1988, he had transferred his street art style to canvas, but his legacy as a graffiti artist endured, inspiring a generation of artists in the process.

That list apparently includes perhaps the most famous of all graffiti artists, Banksy, who resurfaced last week when two new Banksy works were discovered on the wall of the Barbican Centre in London. The location just so happens to the venue for the first major UK exhibition of Basquiat’s work.

Writing on his Instagram page, Banksy described the murals as an “unofficial collaboration” with Basquiat.


Urban Nation Museum, Berlin
Urban Nation Museum, Berlin (photo: Urban Nation)

A similar street art revival is underway in Berlin, where the recently-opened Urban Nation museum in the city’s Schoeneberg district is attracting scores of art lovers through its doors.

Conceived as a “continuation of street art in interior spaces” according to director Yasha Young, the museum showcases street artworks by roughly 130 artists, and the building’s entire exterior is adorned with murals. Young also intends to add a studio to the complex to house up to 10 artists in residence, whom visitors will be able to observe at work and whose creations will eventually be displayed.

The opening of the Urban Nation museum follows the arrival of the travelling exhibition The Art of Banksy in Berlin in June, which, although controversial to some in that it has opened without the artist’s permission or endorsement, has proven to be a hit among museum-goers in Germany’s capital.


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